I. Love. Being. Dramatic. I love it, readers. I love it so much that I agreed to watch The Flash/Supergirl musical crossover under the assumption that at some point, Grant Gustin would actually die during the production. I watched it hoping—nay, praying, that the FCC would cancel it halfway through because it was just… So… Obscene. I watched it coming from seven seasons of True Blood, from skipping most of Supergirl this season, because yikes (yes, I'll elaborate), watching The Flash on and off, and expecting, well, the kind of train wreck you can write home about.
So imagine my disappointment, after already writing an introduction to this article based on previews alone, that said "Now I am become death, the destroyer of worlds," and wound up with something that had nasty elements that need to be addressed, and will, but wasn't half the hate crime I was expecting. Grant Gustin didn't even starting bleeding from the eyes or mouth. He didn't bleed even once. Why did I even bother showing up?
You know how scientists keep telling us not to panic about whatever the trendy epidemic is this season and to instead worry about the flu, which continues to mutate and become increasingly dangerous? But then we all go "the flu? WHATEVER?" and skateboard into what I assume is just... A skatepark full of germs? This episode was the flu. Right now, it's not that deadly to many people, but I do believe in time, it can get there. And also, it probably made a few people throw up.
Instead of using stills from the episode, I will instead be using mid-morph Animorphs as reaction photos, because nothing really captures how I felt listening to the super friends song quite like this horse girl.
But let's get to the meat of it. Measure all those delicious, problematic elements, and then maybe kind of discuss a couple things I sort of liked because part of me is weak for Carlos Valdes. Put a song in your shriveled little heart and walk down this road with me, because it’s time to take some hard stances.
The Flash is, well, let's call it wishy-washy on being gay-friendly. The DCTV universe both whitewashed Wentworth Miller as Leonard Snart and never let his character say anything that wasn't ramrod straight. That’s certainly a point we have to consider when talking about queer friendliness in this universe.
We can also argue that they're trying. I say "we" because this is an argument you, personally can make if you so choose. It's 2017, and I no longer believe trying to be "good enough." Sure, the musical also included well known actors and gay men Victor Garber and John Barrowman. I hope for them that this was a delight to shoot. I know that the show, as a whole, was trying to essentially bring back Glee. I don't know why they'd do that to us, but Glee, despite its many, many, many (many) mishaps, was a bastion of representation for its time. All of these are points that must be considered, yes, before we go in to this next one.
I think, in their hearts, they did want this one to be "For the Gays." I think they said to themselves: "This will be what really seals our gay viewership." And I can understand why they thought that, and with a few different choices, I think they might have been at least 65% there. But they seem to have forgotten that their LGBTQ viewership, for the most part, lives online, and lives in fandom, and lives in head canon, because for all of The Flash's trying, they have not given us more than a handful of LGBTQ characters. None of the DCTV universe has.
Darren Criss has said: "I don't have too many crazies. The funny thing is that—I'd say that older gay men are basically the same as 16-year-old girls. It all gets lost in the wash. Neither one is any crazier than the other… I think they're very similar."
This is what I look like when Darren opens his dumbass mouth
Darren Criss has made repeated comments, in television interviews, about trans men, calling them "a boy without a penis" among other statements. Darren Criss, while playing Hedwig on Broadway, called Hedwig a "crazy woman-thing." Darren Criss has felt the need to, several times, "come out" as straight, because he played a gay character on TV and is heavily involved with musical theater.
Being straight is an illusion and so is death
Now. This entire article cannot be a roast of Darren Criss. Sure, we'd all have a good time with that, but there’s so much that went wrong here that I think it’s best to first address the biggest and most glaring flaw. DCTV time and time again seems to have an issue where its head rests perpetually in the sand. They seem to be able to make it halfway to something, and then make a sharp left turn, careening us all off the road and into a long ditch full of sharp, sharp rocks.
Let's follow the logic here. This universe has a lot of Glee fans, because of Grant and Melissa. So let's add another actor from Glee to really drive this point home. But let's pick someone that Glee fans have critiqued time and time again, who has faced criticism from fandoms, actors, and the LGBTQ community for his attitude. Let's pick that guy for our Glee episode, the one we really think is going to reel in the gays.
Honestly, was NPH that busy, guys? Was he?
Perhaps I'm just sick of the uncritical lens in which I think these shows continue to be viewed, written off time and time again as "superhero fodder." Well gang, superhero fodder happens to be where I live, and now, given such a momentous chance to really put some stakes in this vampire of an episode, and in the vampires of this TV universe. Well, hell. I'll take it.
And if we're going to stake ourselves a vampire, let's mosey on over to a character written like a True Blood reject, your pal and mine, our buddy Mon-El-Or as he should be known, a damn waste of good Chris Wood.
Mon-El has been, for many female and LGBTQ and POC viewers and viewers with two sticks to rub together in their head (So, not EW or TV Guide. You know what you did.), a very sore point in this season of Supergirl. He's actually a main contributor as to why I haven't watched. Last season, the series cast the beautiful and Black Mehcad Brooks to play James Olsen, a character who was white in the comics. His sweet, slow burn romance with Kara was cut short at the very beginning of this season. And he has been lock, stock, and two smoking douchebag barrels replaced with Mon-El. People also call him Cardboard, Douche-El, Man-Hell, and many other colorful names. Sorry, Chris.
Where James was sweet and encouraging, Mon-El is the opposite: he spends his time belittling Kara, doubting her capabilities as a hero, and all around being the kind of frat boy that you'd think a "feminist" show like Supergirl would kick out on his ass. But no, they decided it was Kara's job to fix him. And that's what this show, that claims to want to appeal to young, impressionable girls, has spent their entire second season doing: Making Kara fix Mon-El.
This is the face Owl-Girl gave me when I told her the plot of Supergirl season 2
Two episodes ago, Kara got fired from being a reporter. And was fine with it. Because she has a man. So Melissa Benoist, when you say this season of Supergirl is about Kara "becoming a woman," is that what you meant? Yikes.
If I go into the ocean, I don't have to think about how problematic most CW actors are
But I'm getting off track. This is not a diss song about Melissa Benoist, this is not an article about Supergirl, per se. This is a critique of the musical, and how it decided to parallel this distinctly misogynistic relationship to one of the healthiest in the DCTV Universe. That is, the love between Barry Allen and Iris West.
I mean, OK. Did we get a hint of that sweet, sweet Barry X Cisco this episode? You know we did. But Westallen is a true delight, and if Barry wanted to be with Cisco, maybe don't reset the timeline and kill his brother? I'm sorry, I'm just reflecting on my broken dreams. I think that's a theme of this article, and perhaps of the musical crossover as a whole. Let's continue.
If you went into this episode not knowing who Mon-El is or what he's done, he'd come across as just a kind of affable, stupid white boy. This is The Flash, after all. You can't swing a bat without hitting at least five of those. But this is not who Mon-El is, and this is not what his character represents. He's a representation of the CW's unwillingness to have more than roughly two interracial romances at a time. He's a representation of Supergirl's constant and frustrating misunderstanding of what being a good role model for young girls actually means. I'd call him a menace to society, but he's not like, actively menacing. He's more like a blight. Like a crop blight, and that delectable Supergirl white feminism was the harvest. Watch it wilt! I guess we're all starving this winter.
To call Mon-El's boorish, brattish behavior any kind of love is, well, pretty insulting. To compare it to Barry and Iris, even more so. To have Mon-El there where we all know James Olsen could've and should've been? That's called three strikes. At this point, I should probably cool the critique because like, shit's heavy, and get into the things I liked about this musical.
He was great. Really, truly spectacular. Handsome, talented, funny, great smile, the entire episode should've been about him. If you look up "Deserves Better" online, Carlos Valdes comes up. I'll give you better, Carlos. I'll give you better in my loving arms.
It was nice of the episode, as well, to have Jesse L. Martin and Victor Garber in a married relationship. It also gave us the little gem of Barry saying he's not homophobic because he likes musicals, and well, I'll let this visual aide do the rest.
That's called mother fucking art
And one other teeny, tiny little thing: I'm not saying that the Super Friends song causes global warming, but the globe is warming, and that song does exist. So. You do the math.
Also, the end of the episode, where John Barrowman just started uncontrollably laughing? Like it wasn't even scripted, people were still clearly getting ready, but the camera just was rolling on his hysterical laughter and then abruptly cut to that monkey's paw just lying on the floor? And one of the fingers curled up and then it all cut to black and there was just nothing on the CW for three minutes? That was a bold choice.
Final thoughts: There was absolutely 0 Cinderella's Son, Chad, in this. And you call yourselves a TV musical? Negative two stars.